From time to time I feature other authors on my blog. Today I am very excited to have Ellis Nelson on Muse News.
Ellis Nelson has served as an Air Force officer, government contractor, and teacher. She writes fiction for children and young adults. Currently, she has two books published and looks forward to releasing another in 2017. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband enjoying a spectacular view of Pikes Peak.
Ellis, thank you for joining me today.
Heather: First, of all, let me say, I enjoyed your MG book “Elephants Never Forgotten” very much. I understand that you recently released a new book, “Into the Land of Snows”. Can you tell us how this book idea came to you?
Ellis: This book is the product of years of spiritual integration. Several years ago I had a particularly bad year. My father died, my son was hospitalized, and I came face to face with my own health crisis. All in one year. My illness effectively took me out of the world and focused my attention inward. I returned to basics and found my interest in Buddhism waiting for me. Silent, I think, since at least my teenage years.
I began taking classes offered in faraway Dharamsala, India. Thanks to the internet, I was able to study with a master who had fled Chinese-occupied Tibet to follow His Holiness, the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959. Listening to Geshe Sonam Rinchen’s patient lectures aided my understanding of Tibetan Buddhism. That along with my friendship with a young monk in India helped me to process and write, Into the Land of Snows. The novel explores many of the themes I was exposed to as I learned Eastern concepts.
Heather: Can you share with us a little about your writing process? Are you more of a “Pantser” or a “Plotter”?
Ellis: I lean more towards being a plotter. I have to have a really strong sense of plot before I begin. All my books have offered me the opportunity to dive deep into areas of research I’m interested in. I love research! Right now, I’m reading about the Victorian age, 19th Century undertakers, Spiritualism, and tuberculosis sanatoriums. At this point, I have only a general idea of the plot. As the plot starts to take form, I’ll start creating character profiles. Once I have a firm sense of where I’m going, I’ll start the book.
I have cheated a little this time around because I’ve already written a couple of scenes. Sometimes I get excited and need to get something down on paper.
Heather: In addition to novels, do you blog, or write poetry? How do you allow the muse to work through you?
Ellis: I maintain two blogs where I post regularly. One is dedicated to books for children and teens. The other covers spiritual or visionary topics. I’m starting to wonder if I should being doing video blogs so that may be another avenue for expression.
Heather: What tips do you have to overcome writer’s block?
Ellis: None really. I don’t make a living from my writing so I don’t force myself to be productive. There are long periods of time when I don’t work on writing novels because I’m doing promotion or blogging. I do try to keep reading to provide material for when I write.
Heather: What is your process for stepping into the character? Do you find it difficult to write from a teenage perspective?
Ellis: I naturally gravitate towards writing from the teen perspective. It’s such a turbulent but promising time of life. Everything is in front of you and everything is new. Sometimes I have to go looking for a current word or expression so watching teen movies and shows can help. To help me flesh out the characters I work with, I create character profile sheets where I describe each of them physically and emotionally. I add background information and their relevant histories. And from this I try to imagine how they act and sound.
Heather: Do you have any advice for writers on how to put away the creative hat and put on the revising hat when it comes time for revisions?
Ellis: I think it’s crucial to finish the book before you take on the revision. For me, it’s important to put some distance between writing and editing. Let it sit a while. It’s a good time to have beta readers take a look and give feedback.
Heather: Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. Where can our readers find your books?
Ellis: Thanks, Heather! Here’s the Amazon link to my books: https://goo.gl/YQalMQ
Readers are also welcome to visit my blog. https://ellisnelson.com